Art from a (social) distance: Artists, photographers, virtual exhibits to love

By Teta 

The last time I was in a museum was Feb. 22 in Washington, D.C., when I saw “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists” at the Renwick Gallery. That was a really great, beautiful experience, and I truly miss it.

I miss galleries; I miss getting lost in a work of art. One of my favorite things to do alone on the weekends is to hop on the bus and visit the many free museums D.C. has to offer, especially during the spring.

Though I’m staying indoors now, I can still find some moving, eye-catching artwork on the internet. Here are some of my favorites from artists of Indonesian heritage, and if you have more to suggest, please let me know on Instagram @buahzine or

Woven Kolektif, “Bara” (Australia)

Woven Kolektif is made up of Mashara Wachjudy, Leyla Stevens, Ida Lawrence, Kartika Suharto-Martin, Alfira O’Sullivan, Sofiyah Ruqayah, Bridie Gillman, and Kyati Suharto.

“Bara,” their latest exhibit at Bankstown Arts Centre, is now online and is extended until late April. Bara is Indonesian for “embers.” Here’s the statement from the collective about it:

Bara are the smouldering embers.

Bara can start a fire and are there at the finish of the fire.

Bara keep alive something which can easily be put out, or be lit again.

What do our inner embers tell us? We question where our culture lies — in the heat of the bara, or in the water that puts them out? How do we use the heat of the bara for regeneration and growth?

Woven Kolektif share an installation and performances, drawing on the concept of bara and its potential to offer healing, belonging and new possibility.

Read Woven Kolektif’s Buah zine interview.

Nabila Wirakusumah (Hong Kong)

I love Nabila Wirakusumah’s Child of Paradise series. Here’s her explanation from her website:

Child of Paradise is a celebration of the complex and nuanced identities of South East Asian femmes. The brand draws its imagery from a diverse range of inspiration — primarily Javanese heritage, streetwear culture and the Japanese Superflat movement.

Visit Nabila’s website. Read her Buah zine interview.

Tifah (Philadelphia)

From Tifah’s Buah zine interview:

I mostly draw, paint, and I do a little bit of digital design. A lot of my work revolves around my identity and myself, which is a little narcissistic, but it’s what I know best right now, or what I can make the most sense of in relation to the world I’m around.

Prilly Tuelang (New York City)

From Prilly’s Buah zine interview:

You need to have intention — that’s why art works. If you don’t have intention, you have nothing to say. I hope with what I’m doing, I’m saying something. I want emotion to come out of my work, because I’m not someone who likes to speak about emotions at all. I’m a Sagittarius; I don’t like to talk about what I’m feeling, so photography is one of those ways where I can actually talk about what I want to do and how I want to feel, because I can’t communicate very well with words.

Anissa Amalia (Los Angeles)

From Anissa’s Buah zine interview:

I guess a part of it was my identity inspired me, who I am, where I’m from, my background, my story. Because that’s kind of the main thing in my work is to tell stories. I’m inspired by the resilience of many other artists of color before me that fought for what they want. 

Visit Anissa’s website.

Christa Haryanto (Los Angeles)

“Dalang” is Christa’s senior project in media studies at Vassar College. As described on Christa’s website: “A multi-screen, audio-visual exploration of personal archive and political violence in Jakarta in May of 1998.”

Read Christa’s Buah zine interview.

Latisha Horstink (The Netherlands)

From Latisha’s Buah zine interview:

My work always goes back to Indonesian heritage and this confusing middle state that I’m at, but also kind of accepting it, in a way. I’m still finding ways to be more unapologetic about it. Just taking what I want and not having to worry about it.

Visit Latisha’s website.

Sally and Emily (Australia)

From Sally and Emily’s Buah zine interview:

Q: What drew you to photography? Why did you choose photography over other art forms?

Sally: Up until today, I am still fascinated by how photography captures things around me and it stands within time through that medium.

Emily: When I was 15 or 16, I would borrow my dad’s film camera and take pictures. I always had the need to create some sort of art in order to express myself, communicate through, and really put my feelings into. I carried a huge interest with photography and I always knew I wanted to do something creative in life.

Visit their website.

Allie Anindita (Washington, D.C.)

From Allie’s Buah zine photo shoot:

Q: What was a big lesson that you’ve learned this year (in 2019) so far?

Allie: That it’s OK to not know. In general, but in relation to my identity, it’s OK, I don’t have to have a final answer, I don’t have to say, declare to anyone but myself that I’m Indonesian or one or the other. It’s OK to be all things, both things, and none of those identities have to define who I am, or that it has to make sense.

Visit Allie’s shop here.

Adrianne Walujo (Australia)

From Adrianne’s Buah zine interview:

If there’s anything I’ve learned about finding my style it’s to not let the stress of finding it stress you out, because it’s counterproductive. Your style is whatever you think you find beautiful. It takes time, it takes trial and error, but it’s OK, just create. It can’t be forced; you’ve got to let it flow.

Visit Adrianne’s website.

Elizabeth Wirija (New York City)

From Eli’s 2018 Hunger TV interview:

I’m learning that I need to take my time, there is no value of cranking out work that I’m lukewarm about. I’m meant to experience life and then get back to my art so I have something to make art about. Being relevant is not as important as my peace of mind. I do enjoy the energy of the city that is perpetually changing and expanding with new people coming and going.

Visit Eli’s website.